My feelings for Oronooko is hard to pinpoint.
At first glance I thought it was a tragedy set in the scenes of the age of European Empires. I did notice its critique on the crime of slavery, and frankly I liked Oronooko as a character.
The lectures shed light onto the story in a way that took me aback. I did notice something odd about Behn’s way of telling the story… it was as if it was personal, for she keeps inserting herself into the narrative, but at the same time distance, critical of the things she sees, but not actually critical. The explanation on how Behn is satirizing and dramatizing the scenes and the people in Oronooko revealed quite a bit on why she chose this narrative approach. It is able to stage the scene very well, like a theatre, and yet like some types of theatre like Brechian theatre, it works to distance the audience from the scene, and force them to ask questions about race. For, when Oronooko speaks, its as if he is speaking to us, the audience about the crimes of slavery. And yet, this is Behn’s account of what he speaks… it isn’t really Oronooko’s and it is Oronooko’s. It still hits you, but the story first gets you into this mode of questioning, that finally forces you to asks the questiosn Behn is wanting you to ask….
Then, when you finally start asking the right questions, Oronooko really hits you when you least expect it to…